High-profile family tragedy: reporting on a state senator’s stabbing

I almost called out sick on Tuesday.

On Monday night, I was congested. I felt hot. I was run down. I wasn’t feeling it. But on Tuesday, I was much less sluggish. And, my hot water heater malfunctioned. Nothing like a cold shower to get you going.

I was on my way to work when I got a phone call — “Creigh Deeds has been stabbed.”

Then, I was truly awake.

It took me a second to process that. A colleague had been communicating with our state senator of Virginia’s 25th District in the days prior about doing an interview regarding the recent statewide elections. She was going to pass over his info to me so I could contact him for a story on Tuesday.

That same Creigh Deeds?

I got to work and was charged with updating our social media. Typing the words was surreal.

BREAKING: Virginia State Police say state Sen. Creigh Deeds is in critical condition after an assault at his Bath County home. Another person in his home has been confirmed deceased. More details to come…

I was then sent to the Virginia State Police field office to wait for a noon press conference. It was the first whirlwind of the day. Police officially confirmed at that point Deeds’ son, Gus, was the other victim. And from there, speculation began.

The 3:30 p.m. newscast was the second whirlwind. There I was, once again flanked by media outlets from all over the region (Richmond, Norfolk, Roanoke, DC) and the nation (CNN, Fox News). This time, police say they were looking into a possible attempted murder and suicide. And that’s when the pieces start coming together.

Deeds’ condition improved throughout the day and continues to do so. That was the one calming factor in a day that is still hard to understand. As more information came out about the mental stability of Gus Deeds, it became more difficult to process how something that seems so preventable could have escalated so quickly.

The pain the Deeds family must be feeling is unimaginable. But it’s clear through countless statements from colleagues and friends that the family has a fantastic support system in place as the senator continues to recover in the hospital.

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